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Global Health Research

Provost's Award for Excellence in Internationally-Focused Research

Erika Friebe won this award at the recent Students' Union Undergraduate Research Symposium at the University of Calgary.  Erika is a BHSc student who took part in the Global Health Field School in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania in May of 2015.  She was an intern working and studying with the Grand Challenges funded Project SHINE, led by investigator Dr. Sheri Bastien and supported by staff members from the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary as well as the Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences in Mwanza, Tanzania. 

Award Ceremony

Acknowledging and thanking the co-authors of her poster presentation (E. Hetherington, L. Allen-Scott, J. Hatfield, F. van der Meer, E.C. Nyanza and S. Bastien) Erika recognizes all of them in this research endeavour, as well as their roles in the tremendous personal growth she experienced through the field school program.  To view the winning poster click here

Global Health Frontiers: A Canadian Journal for Graduate Students

Call for papers - deadline for first issue is January 18, 2016.  This is a brand new Canadian Global Health Journal created at McMaster University.  It is a graduate-level scholarly publication that will be edited and reviewed by students and faculty at the McMaster MSc in Global Health Program in Hamilton, Ontario.  The goal of this journal is to publish exemplary work in the field of global health, from graduate students across Canada.  They encourage students who completed their undergraduate studies in diverse disciplines to submit papers that engage with contemporary global health issues.  Submissions may include, but are not limited to:  research papers, literature reviews, editorials, placement experience/field reports and commentaries.  For more information and submission guidelines e-mail the Editors-in-Chief at or visit the Facebook page,

Advances in High Altitude Medicine

Dr. Sara Hartmann, a postdoctoral fellow in the Cumming School of Medicine is planning a high-altitude project that will look at the relationship between high altitude, sleep, cognitive function and health/safety in high altitude workers at ALMA, one of the world's highest observatories, located in northern Chile.  The expedition is slated for Spring/Summer of 2016 and will expand her work already conducted during field studies involving COPD research in the high Swiss Alps and more recently in the highlands of Kyrgyzstan in research involving patients with pulmonary hypertension.  Her research has been part of a collaborative and clinical/translational research program involving:  Drs. Anderson, Leigh, Poulin, several departments (Physiology & Pharmacology, Clinical Neurosciences, Cardiac Sciences, and Medicine), several institutes (HBI, Libin and Snyder) and a trainee program (Mountain Medicine and High Altitude Physiology).  Also, Dr. Marc Poulin has been invited by the Chilean Minister of Health to give a keynote address at a health and safety conference for key stakeholders in the area of high altitude work in Chile.  He will travel to Iquique (far north of Chile) in early December. 

For an update on the above project check out the article published by the Embassy of Canada in Chile:;

Global Health Research Publication, Medical Students

A team of medical students from around the world (including Kimberly G. Williams - UofC Medicine, class of 2014) participated in a United Nations Conference (Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals) in June of 2013.  Kim was funded by the International Federation of Medical Students Associations and in part by a Global Health & International Partnerships Conference Grant (Medical Trainee Fund).  They submitted an article "The position of health in sustainable development negotiations: a survey of negotiators and review of post-Rio+20 processes" that was published in The Lancet.  Congratulations Kim. 

Check the Abstract, or full article:  The Lancet, Vol. 382, October 20, 2013, p. 16.  doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62177-7

Global Health Research Initiative, Bachelor of Health Sciences Program

The BHSc Global Health Program in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary is committed to promoting excellence in global health research.  International activities are based on a responsible approach that engages in equitable research partnerships centered on themes of relevance to both our students and the local institutions.  Most of our international efforts are in low and middle income countries and these build on long-term relationships rather than one-off experiences for particular students.  We always have two goals in these partnerships.  One is to create meaningful and often life-changing learning experiences for our students. The other is to participate in capacity sharing activities with the partner institutions that receive our students abroad. Ongoing multidisciplinary research initiatives exist in Tanzania, Ethiopia and the Dominican Republic. 

Various undergradaute students have participated in our international research projects in the summer through funding from the Medical Trainee Fund and the Office of Global Health and International Partnerships.  These Summer Studentships are designed to encourage students to consider pursuing work experience in health research and fund both domestic and international programs. 

Research Projects:

The Dominican Republic Project:  Supervisor - Dr. John D. McLennan

Dr. John D. McLennan , in collaboration with the International Program of the Bachelor of Health Sciences program, offers 2 or 3 summer student research positions each year.  The overall project will focus on various aspects of child health in the Dominican Republic and is linked to a child health program called Niños Sanos which is based in the community of Lecheria on the outskirts of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Niños Sanos, a child growth monitoring and health promotion program, is conducted in collaboration with a group of non-governmental organizations: the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Nuestra Señora del Buen Consejo, and Fe y Alegría.  For a more recent update of this project and examples of the BHSc student research please visit:

  Dominican clinic

The Ethiopia Project:   Supervisor - Dr. Guido van Marle

The Bachelor of Health Sciences Program initiated a capacity sharing program in Ethiopia in 2006.  This interdisciplinary initiative exposes students to a variety of activities that range in scope from laboratory-based approaches to health research system strengthening and sustainability. 

Ethiopia lab

The Ethiopian Government is setting up many clinical/veterinary/agricultural research/diagnostics institutions throughout Ethiopia.  They need well-trained people with hands-on experience in molecular biology and bioinformatics to develop the research capacity in the country.  Since 2006, we have been giving a short course in Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics at Ethiopian research institutions in Addis Ababa.  In 2011, we expanded the course to the University of Gondar, in Gondar, Ethiopia.  The main instructors are staff of the University of Calgary, and the participants will be faculty, research staff and instructors from various other Faculties/Departments (Biochemistry, Veterinary Medicine, Biological Sciences, Botany, Medicine).  The course is based on a train-the-trainer model which allows recipients of the course to use the information and skills they gain in their own work and to incorporate it into the curricula of their respective programs.  The course will provide knowledge and skills in basic Molecular Biology Techniques and Bioinformatics Analyses.  Format will include both bench work and lectures in small training groups, and computer labs with exercises and hand-in assignments.  The course is designed for 24-30 participants and lasts for 3-4 weeks.

The Tanzania Project:   Supervisory Team - Drs. Jennifer Hatfield, Sheri Bastien, Ken Lukowiak, Frank van der Meer, Karin Orsel 

Since 2006 students from the BHSc program have traveled to Tanzania to work on a variety of projects in association with Endulen Hospital and the Catholic University of Health and Allied Sciences.  This year the BHSc program is continuing a capacity sharing and research-intensive international program.  This is an interdisciplinary initiative that will expose students to a variety of activities that range in scope from laboratory-based approaches to community-based health promotion programs.  We collaborate with faculty and students from Veterinary Medicine to develop a better understanding of animal-human health interactions.  We engage in various research projects using a health promotion approach. 

Shayna with children

Awards and Recognition:

  1. Campus Alberta Grant for International Learning 2009
  2. Campus Alberta Grant for International Learning 2008
  3. Internationalizing the Learning and Practice: Award of Distinction from  Alberta Advanced Education and Technology 2008
  4. University of Calgary International Grants Committee, 2008: “Community engagement in HIV/AIDS prevention in rural Tanzania: Using the rapid assessment, response and evaluation model as a catalyst for sustainable capacity building”
  5. University of Calgary International Grants Committee, 2008: “Molecular laboratory diagnostics in Ethiopia: using short course education as a springboard” 

Read more in the UCalgary MedicineMagazine:

Eyes High Global Health Research in the Cumming School of Medicine and Internationalization – Working Session

On March, 2013, a group of ten individuals, including high level University of Calgary and Cumming School of Medicine leaders, as well as the founding national coordinator of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR), convened for a working session to discuss: “Eyes High, Internationalization and Global Health Research: Implications for the Cumming School of Medicine‘s Strategic Direction”.  The main focus of the working session was how global health research can be used as a platform to respond and deliver on the opportunities inspired by the new Internationalization Strategic Plan and the University and Faculty level research priorities.

Attendees:  Jennifer Hatfield, Janaka Ruwanpura, Vic Neufeld, Gerald Zamponi, William Ghali, Jennifer Brenner, Frans van der Hoorn, John Reynolds, Ray Turner, Sheri Bastien. 

Following welcoming remarks by Dr. Janaka Ruwanpura, the Vice Provost (International) of the University of Calgary and Dr. Jennifer Hatfield, Associate Dean, Global Health & International Partnerships, participants discussed fundamental issues relating to what global health is, and the importance of it with respect to social accountability and the service mandate, but also the tremendous opportunities it presents for scholarly activity.  Current efforts to support, demonstrate and elevate global health scholarship were focused upon, for instance the Healthy Child Uganda project, which was profiled.   In addition, Dr. Ghali presented on International Methodology Consortium for Coded Health Information (IMECCHI), which is a WHO-led international collaboration to promote the methodological development and use of coded health information to promote quality of care and quality health policy decisions.  Ongoing dialogue across the nation concerning Canada’s role in global health and the funding landscape for global health research were recurring themes in the working session.

The working session focused in large part on how global health research presents an opportunity to deliver on the university’s commitment to Eyes High, but also the pressing need to strategize and carefully align future activities with stated priorities at the university and faculty level in order to maximize impact. 

A number of key issues were raised as part of the working session discussions.  It is suggested that working groups are established to address the following areas of development: 

  1. A communications and marketing strategy needs to be developed to raise the profile of global health in the faculty and to clarify strategic direction vis-à-vis research.
  2. The inventory of global health research being conducted at the university and faculty, including basic science as well as other established disciplines such as public health, should be updated and systematized in order to leverage existing strengths. 
  3. Partnership with the Institute for Public Health (IPH) should be prioritized in order to strengthen global health research efforts.  To formalize linkages, a meeting with IPH interest groups should be held to establish a work plan to guide the process.
  4. Global health experience as a core educational objective for undergraduates and graduates needs to be formalized at the faculty level.

The concluding discussion presented an opportunity for participants to reflect on the way forward in terms of maximizing  global health research and delivering on Eyes High.  Discussants emphasized the need for a focused strategy and the establishment and strengthening of the necessary partnerships and connections required to secure funding for global health research.

Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR)

The Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR) is a not-for-profit organization promoting better and more equitable health worldwide through the production and use of knowledge.

With an orientation toward health research challenges in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) to reduce health disparities, we are a Canada-based global network committed to:

  • strengthening capacities of individuals, institutions and systems in Canada and LMICs to produce and use knowledge
  • speaking as Canada’s voice for global health research
  • building effective, equitable and respectful south-north research partnerships
  • connecting people, ideas and expertise
  • learning from and communicating our work

Our members include:

  • Global health researchers
  • People actively engaged in applying research to improve global health
  • Organizations interested in funding health research
  • Members of the general public who share our vision and goals.

The University of Calgary is a member of this network.  For more information go to:, or click here for An Overview

At a meeting of the CCGHR University Advisory Council (UAC) in Ottawa on October 26, 2013, Dr. Jennifer Hatfield was appointed as the new Chair of the University Advisory Council. 

New Mentorship Resource for Global Health Research

The Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research has an exciting new resource that explores mentorship in global health research.  The resource features:

  • An investigation of the common themes of mentorship in global health research
  • A collection of stories told through 12 diverse mentorship programs
  • Compelling and unique reflections on mentorship practices from Canada, Africa, Latin America and the UK/Europe

For more information check the CCGHR website:,;

Campus Alberta Global Health Consortium

In 2009 the universities in Alberta held a forum at the University of Calgary to discuss issues related to their involvement in global health activities.  It turned out to be a great learning endeavour and participants from the University of Calgary, University of Alberta, University of Lethbridge, Mount Royal University, and the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research resolved to keep meeting for the purpose of networking with others, collaboration and coordinating our efforts, and aligning our research, education, and services activities across Alberta.  At the forum, each of the universities presented information related to their global health activities and initiatives.  In response to the forum, a collaborative policy document titled "Global Health Research in Alberta: Global Reach Local Impact" was submitted to Alberta Innovates: Health Solutions that outlined the collective input of members of participating institutions. 

The second Global Health Forum was intended to build upon the foundation that was established at the original meeting, and to explore new directions for this emerging Alberta consortium.  It was held on December 11, 2012 at the University of Alberta, in the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy.  The focus of this workshop was on sub-Saharan Africa, for there is a large overlap of interest and current global health activities occurring among all the Alberta universities.  Participants were:

University of Alberta:  David Zakus, Dominic Allain, Michele Harvey-Blankenship, Laura Matemisz, Madura Sundareswaran, Duncan Saunders, Arif Alibhai, Bernadette Martin, Chris Zarski, Barbara Norton.

University of Calgary:  Jennifer Hatfield, Shahirose Premji, Christopher Powell, Deborah Dewey, Elizabeth Kyplain, Kimberly Manalili, Lisa Allen, Nina Hrycak. 

Mount Royal University:  Aliyah Mawji, Vince Salyers, Margot Underwood. 

University of Lethbridge:  Jean Harrowing.

Athabasca University:  Joy Fraser, Norman Temple.

Grant MacEwan University:  Mona Haimour, Cynthia Puddu, Darielle Calvert, Lucille Mazo, Sean de Silva, Sharon Johnston, Elizabeth Burgess-Pinto. 

2012 forum participants

Universities in Alberta identified their on-going health projects in the following countries within Sub-Saharan Africa:  Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  Further information on country-specific projects/reports may be obtained from Shahirose Premji

Research Opportunities:

New Publication on the Importance of Addressing Ethical, Social, and Cultural Issues in Global Health Research announced by the Sandra Rotaman Centre "Addressing Ethical, Social and Cultural Issue in Global Health Research: PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases" by James. V. Lavery, Shane K. Green, Sunita V.S. Bandward, Anant Bhan, Abdallah Daar, Claudia I. Emerson. Hassan Masum, Filippo M. Randazzo, Jerome A. Singh, Ross E.G. Upshur, Peter A. Singer.  

Grand Challenges in Global Health

For information on funding opportunities visit the Funding tab of this website.